By Kerry Blake, business writer
It was back in 2013 when Bill Gates said, “The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” Today, the Internet and access to it is omnipresent. The Wi-Fi revolution has taken over the world and, as a business owner, you may be losing business if you’re not offering free Wi-Fi.
Free Wi-Fi is no longer the domain of coffee shops and libraries. All styles of eateries, from posh restaurants to fast food joints, have taken to offering free Wi-Fi. Even supermarkets and spas are joining in.
If you’re questioning the value of allowing customers to use your Wi-Fi (after all, it’s free to them, but not to you) consider these benefits:
- Free Wi-Fi can be free marketing. Consider crafting a branded splash or landing page for customers to view every time they connect to Wi-Fi. Some locations prompt customers to post their location via their social accounts to further amplify marketing reach. The branding options are definitely attractive, especially if you remember to associate your store with the name of your network. And if that wasn’t enough, realize that by providing free Wi-Fi, you are able to collect data from your customers, including their email addresses (legally, of course). You can then use this information to track your customers, determining how frequently they visit your establishment and how long they stay.
- Free Wi-Fi can mean more business. Even the marketing opportunities pale in comparison to the true benefit that you will elicit from giving your customers free internet access: more time spent on your premises, around your product and with your brand. After all, it’s not enough to simply attract new customers to your store. You want to keep them around. The data speaks for itself; nearly 70 percent of all customers spend more time in establishments that have free Wi-Fi.
- Free Wi-Fi is expected. Simply put, people anticipate connecting while they are out and about. Without offering solid Wi-Fi, you may be turning away customers unknowingly.
It’s true that free Wi-Fi can enhance a customer’s experience at your establishment, but don’t be fooled into thinking that only the customer benefits from this deal. Free Wi-Fi can do wonders for your business.